Child Development 138 (04) - Hembree
Social and Emotional Development
California State University, Sacramento
Spring, 2009 

picture of circle of friends


Classic Theories

I.  Intro to Theory

A. Questions about theories:

1.  What is a theory?  



2.  What is a developmental theory?  



3.  What makes a good theory?  




  4. Where do theories come from?



B. Role of Theory in Research

- organize and condense information



- explain behavior



- predict future events/behavior



C.  Basic controversies (Theory "quiz")

  • How do nature and nurture contribute to development?

  • What is the basic nature of the human?

  • Is development qualitative or quantitative?

  • Are we active or passive in our development?

  • Is development stable or discontinuous?


D.  A word to the wise (scientist)....



II. Psychoanalytic theory  

Position on developmental issues:



A. Freud

1. Internal (sexual) drives are impetus for development



2. innate tendency to reduce tension and achieve a pleasurable experience



3. importance of unconscious



4. Personality (Id, Ego, Superego)



5. Freud and development

        developmental (psychosexual) stages






        Oedipus (Electra) complex/socialization through identification





5.      Evaluation





B.  Erikson

1.  psychosocial stages, with greater emphasis on ego and on the increasing range of social settings of development throughout life



2. Development occurs through a series of challenges or crises

- trust vs. mistrust


- autonomy vs. shame


- initiative vs. guilt


- industry vs. inferiority  


- identity vs. identity diffusion


- intimacy vs. isolation


- generativity vs. self-absorption


- ego integrity vs. despair


3. Evaluation




III. Behaviorism and Learning Theory

A.  Traditional behaviorism




B. What constitutes learning?

1. Repetition (exposure) or association


2. Classical conditioning (Pavlov)




3. Operant conditioning (Skinner)


o       Reinforcers


o       Punishers


o       Positive reinforcement


o       Negative reinforcement



IV.  Bandura - Social Learning Theory

  A.  Most behavior social in nature



B.  Broadened notion of learning  


1. observational learning (Bandura, 1967)





2.  cognition plays a role   



C. Reciprocal determinism




  D.  Evaluation





V. Review Piaget (Lab)


Back to top


Send problems, comments or suggestions to: Updated: January 15, 2009